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Fairfield County Mom Tackles Concussions With NFL

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk mom Katherine Snedaker worked for years to help spread education and awareness about concussions.  She recently met with the heads of the NFL and USA Football to discuss how to make youth sports safer.

Snedaker was one of several experts who met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck. She spoke with them about her websites Sports CAPP and Team Concussion , which provide education about concussions and how to recognize symptoms.

“They were amazing,” she said. Snedaker was surprised by how serious they were about wanting to spread awareness about teen concussions. “They really had an attitude that said, ‘We are committed to making youth football a safer sport with education for players, coaches and parents about concussion prevention and management.’”

Snedaker has been working with former Westport football captain Chris Coyne to try and spread awareness to kids about how to spot a concussion. Coyne’s football career was ended in college after he suffered his sixth concussion, and has spent the summer with Snedaker educating kids about the signs of concussions and how dangerous continuing to play with them can be.

“I think when you have a couple kids from the high school talking, the middle school kids are more likely to listen to them than they would to a doctor,” she said. Most concussion education doesn’t start until the kids are in high school, she said, but from her experience working with hundreds of kids she believes most kids suffer their first concussions in middle school before they know the signs.

Snedaker was pleased that the football officials wanted to try to raise awareness through public education and a new application that will help identify symptoms. She said that she hopes to connect with officials from other sports to further spread the message, such as soccer and girls sports like cheerleading. Girls are more likely to get concussions, and they suffer longer, Snedaker said, but girls’ sports don’t tend to put as much emphasis on the dangers of concussions as boys’ sports do.

Snedaker, along with Carmen Roda and Westport PALS is sponsoring a Concussion Awareness Night at Saugatuck Elementary School on Sept. 13. She said the panel will be a fun and informative way to spread information about concussions to families and coaches.

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